trying to purchase lighting equipment...

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by itsjustbrandy, Jan 2, 2010.

  1. itsjustbrandy

    itsjustbrandy TPF Noob!

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    I just bought my first -ever- piece of lighting equipment, the sb 600... and of course, I already want 2,3,4 more.. :meh: but first, I think that I would like to get a stand for the one I have. This is what I am considering purchasing...
    Impact | Air Cushioned Light Stand, Black - 8' (2.4m) | LS-8A

    Impact | 45" Convertible Umbrella | UBBW45 | B&H Photo Video

    Impact | Umbrella Bracket | 3117 | B&H Photo Video

    ... but not without TPF's expertise, of course ;)
    It's obviously not as nice as the manfrotto equipment, but after reading the reviews, most purchasers seemed to have been satisfied with all the above :thumbup:
    Unless someone can recommend a more ideal setup around the same price, give or take...?
    If there is a kit that could be purchased together, that would be nice as well. I really like the idea of more lights, for like... now! but wouldn't this be the more obvious step first... getting the stand etc?

    I am always shooting people and flowers, nature etc..but recently was asked to do some senior portraits for a couple family members and for a couple of their friends from school, so I would like to be better equiped.

    I been doing my research on lighting, which I know keeps ever growing :D... but I am pretty sure that I would like to stay with speed lights. I like the idea of them being more energy efficient... and keeping my flesh on my finger tips, plus they're more portable... and I really haven't heard anyone say anything bad about them (w/the exception of the 900's overheating issue) So my plan was, keep an eye out for a good deal on the sb 800 used, since you can't get them new anymore, and probably get 2 more 600's... eventually...

    Would this be a pretty good setup? Or maybe someone knows of a better combo that's kinder on the budget :mrgreen: So talking money- I mean... ideally... $20 for it all... SOLD!
    ... but no, really... What could I bring home for 300 or less? looking for more bang for the buck, w/out losing too much quality. And please, if you have knowledge to change my thoughts on the lighting situation, please do share... thank you!

    Any advice is much appreciated!

    :hugs:
     
  2. jennyjen

    jennyjen TPF Noob!

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    Good luck with all your purchases girl. Im new to the site and have a lot of things to buy myself. [​IMG]
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I personally think that SB 600 and SB 800 units as umbrella flash lights are a waste of money; a Vivitar 285HV flash already HAS a PC synch outlet on it--the SB 600 has NO synch outlet on it: that's a deliberate dumbing-down of the flash's feature set in order to force users to the SB 800 and SB900 models, IMHO.

    If you want to do portraiture ands you want three or four or five speedlights, the low price of the Vivitar 285HV makes much more economic and practical sense. You only need an optical slave for each 285HV flash,and you can trigger using the body's pop-up flash at 1/16 power manual. OR you can buy a wireless transmitter and a wireless receiver, a transmitter for the camera and a receiver for one flash, and then use optical slaves to trigger flashes 2,3,and 4.

    Nikon SB 600 flashes are $218 at Adorama, while Vivitar 285HV flashes are $89 at Adorama. Using an SB 600 as a "dumb" remote flash is kind of costly, and also a slight PITA, since it has no PC outlet. The 20- and 30-foot PC cord is still a very,very viable solution for triggering a flash unit from a camera, even in these days of electronic triggering systems, and the SB 600's lack of any type of built-in PC outlet at the $218 price point is really,really annoying. I know the Nikon-sponsored pro's like McNally like to demo setups using mutliple SB900's ($2,000-$2,500 worth of speedlights?) but to me, that type of demo is really more like "selling" in disguise.

    Multi-speedlight lighting using the Nikon CLS and master/slave and groupings, all that stuff...I think it's massively over-hyped. It's faster,easier, and more reliable to just use flashes in manual mode and set the flashes the way they need to be set. Save money--buy "dumb" flashes, and get a flash meter--that would be something actually *worth the money*,and would help you immensely more than a $218 flash unit with less power than an eighty-nine dollar Vivitar. ALl this CLS stuff sounds great, but acrtual studio lighting, or strobist lighting, is more about adjusting flash power up, or down, or moving the light closer or farther, or higher up, and using the simple tried and true basics of ISO, aperture,shutter, and Guide Number.
    Nikon has cleverly hired some people to demonstrate just what can be done with four,or five very expensive speedlights. But the electronic control over the lights, is in my opinion, not that valuable in many situations.
     
  4. LuckySo-n-So

    LuckySo-n-So TPF Noob!

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    Rant much? :lol:

    (BTW...I agree with you)

    :cheers:
     
  5. itsjustbrandy

    itsjustbrandy TPF Noob!

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    I was hoping someone would come back with some advice on cheaper flashes. :D I knew the 600 didn't have a sync outlet on it before I bought it, and wondered why... but I didn't think that it would matter bc I could control the flash - off the camera with the d90.

    This is ALL soo true. :drool:

    What exactly is an optical slave? I thought that my camera body can control&sync up to 4 flashes,or is it 3, am I wrong thinking this? I always set the flash to manual and control it from the flash itself,not from the cam... but do the flashes perform better when they are connected by a cable or a wireless receiver? I hear a lot of raving about pocketwizards.

    :er: I'm still not understanding the full spectrum of camera body to flash connection/syncronization, sorry ... :( :gah:

    But I really do appreciate ALL of your input Derrel... and letting me pick your brain :cheer:
     
  6. SpeedTrap

    SpeedTrap TPF Noob!

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    The Vivitar Flashes are great, but bang for your buck a studio strobes are outstanding.

    I am not trying to upset the strobists on the forum, but you would need alot of speedlights to have even remotely as much power or control as my monlights do, and the range of modifyers and light shaping tools make lighting for a specifc look much esier.

    There is nothing more portable than a speedlight, but the recycle times and power of a strobe cannot be beat. The one downside is having to carry a large batty pack, but if you are shooting anywhere with power, this is not a problem.
     
  7. burnws6

    burnws6 TPF Noob!

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    You just saved me 10 minutes. I had made a comment like that about Mcnally somewhere else on here, and someone got a little mad. Nikon, although a great product, like any other one has the commercial side to it which will rape you when it comes to certain things. Good advice.

    As far as speedlight vs monolight...I don't think her circumstances ask for more. She'd be fine with a couple vivitars and some cactus receivers. She doesn't need to break the bank with some monolights.

    Also, if you're learning lighting, you MUST......MUST.....get the strobist DVD and Zack Arias One Light Workshop, seriously...you have to.
     
  8. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Agreed. The strobist way of doing things is great for learning lighting and is also great in the long run for someone who is going to shoot a couple of portraits a years.

    Anyone who intends to eventually do a lot of studio photo is better off looking at strobes after having bought their second camera mountable flash unit. I'm saying the second because I have two flash units myself and have never ever needed more for anything where I wasn't using strobes.

    And some flash units costs as much as some Alien Bees when you put two of them in one softbox to get enough power. ABs have their problems but they seem to be fine for starting and can be used later within a better set up. With gels for example.

    For a cheap way to start I would suggest two flash units and a few reflectors and diffusers which can be used later on on with any better strobe set up. A stand and umbrella or soft box for each flash units can be had fairly cheap and are good to have. But read about umbrellas vs softboxes before deciding on which one to get. An umbrella used in the wrong place can be the worst light modifier there is :(

    Starter reflectors can be extremely cheap btw. A sheet of foam core is a wonderful reflector and can be used as is or can be covered with another different type of reflective material such as aluminum paper :D

    The big questions are: what kind of photographer are you NOW? and, what kind of photographer do you want to become? The answers will help guide you in your choice of gear.
     
  9. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    :lmao: The man is a Nikon spokesperson. Period. If he can be listened to as far as technique is concerned, I would not listen as much when it comes to gear :D
     
  10. itsjustbrandy

    itsjustbrandy TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the tip! For now though, I think speedlights are more appropriate for my working conditions. I don't have a studio .. yet ;)... nor the storage space or dedicated space to just photography :grumpy:
    but this day will soon come, and then I think I'll have to get a monolight or something of the sort, for experimentation :D

    Do I NEED cactus receivers to operate the Vivitar flashes off camera on the d90 body?

    and I do have the Stobist DVD... VERY HELPFUL!(and that's an understatement)
    I haven't found the ONE LIGHT yet. But without looking though, I am sure amazon or the like carries it. And I just heard about ONE
    LIGHT before you said this... must be a sign. lol. put that on the list...

    So I think that I'll end up picking up a couple Vivitars over the next few weeks, but first I want to get a stand & umbrella... with that being said, does anyone know of a deal that comes with ''2 stands, 2 umbrellas, & the umbrella brackets'' I'd like the umbrellas to be white transparent with the optional black covers to come with.... being of decent quality? OR should I just purchase ''2'' of everything I listed earlier...

     
  11. itsjustbrandy

    itsjustbrandy TPF Noob!

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    I do want to get a softbox as well. I like the effects that both the umbrella and the softbox give off... but that is to come. And I was actually thinking of going with the octogonal box instead of the 'square' softbox. I think it gives a wildly-beautiful effect! but I can pick up an umbrella for about 20 right now ;)... that is if the set I am thinking about going with is durable...
    I wish I could buy it all today. lol.

    it's funny you said that... a couple of days ago, I spent almost all day making a few DIY reflectors and snoots. lol. very fun, and addictive! After watching the Strobist DVD... it was like walking into a whole new world... That's all I've been thinking about non-stop the past 4 days or so... lighting,different techniques etc. :lol:

    You're right about that! :thumbup: I find myself taking pictures of people and nature mostly. I really like capturing the true personality of someone. So I think it's taking me in the direction of portraits (perferably outdoors)... and I really like idea of weddings, capturing so much real emotion in an already beautiful surrounding, but I know I have much to learn before that day comes.
    one mm at a time ;)
    Now, if I could only make a living off of shooting flowers and nature.... :D

    I am just as addicted to gardening as photography...
    ... its like they're meant to be together... ya know? :hugs:
     
  12. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    First off, a great discussion from everybody involved! For the OP's latest questions which are "does anybody know about a deal that comes with ''2 stands, 2 umbrellas, & the umbrella brackets''? I'd like the umbrellas to be white transparent with the optional black covers to come with.... being of decent quality? OR should I just purchase ''2'' of everything I listed earlier..."

    Answer: Yes, exactly such a deal exists, from MPEX.com and also from B&H Photo, I believe. Midwest Photo Exchange or MPEX.com, but I think the umbrella brackets,light stand, and umbrella model you list will come in under the price of the "two kit" packages sold through MPEX or B&H and Adorama.

    An optical slave or slave trigger is a small device that can "see" a bright, rapidly-peaking light source and trigger the electronic flash unit it is connected to. Slaves take several forms: some have a hot-shoe type mount, others are plug-in style, one is called a peanut slave. Vivitar and Wein make a lot of slaves. Wein might be the best-known, oldest brand of quality slave. A shoe-mount slave fits on the foot of a speedlight,making it usable with any shoe-mount speedlight, but adding in another two connections to the setup overall. Small, peanut style slaves and other small slaves usually need a PC cord connection between slave and flash. Slaves work on an "optical" basis which allows anything fitted with a slave to become part of the group; Nikon's CLS works on a "wireless" system, which demands "smart" flash units dedicated to the Nikon CLS protocol system.

    You do not need Cactus or other triggers to fire more than one speedlight. Pocket Wizard is the best, but also the most costly.

    You know, Adorama's FlashPoint monolight, the base model, is $99, which makes it about the same cost as a 285HV flash + umbrella bracket. The advantage of a monolight is the modeling light, allowing you to visually see what the light is doing, and where the shadows fall. You need AC power or a battery/sine wave inverter to run a monolight outdoors, but I think it might be easier to learn with modeling lights vs speedlights.

    I'm a big fan of pack-and-head studio lighting, but speedlights are battery-powered. There are plusses and minuses for both studio flash and speedlight lighting equipment.
     

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